The psychological assessment of candidates for reconstructive hand transplantation

Martin Kumnig, Sheila G. Jowsey, Gerhard Rumpold, Annemarie Weissenbacher, Theresa Hautz, Timm O. Engelhardt, Gerald Brandacher, Markus Gabl, Marina Ninkovic, Michael Rieger, Bernhard Zelger, Bettina Zelger, Michael Blauth, Raimund Margreiter, Gerhard Pierer, Johann Pratschke, Stefan Schneeberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Standardized psychological assessment of candidates for reconstructive hand transplantation (RHT) is a new approach in transplantation medicine. Currently, international guidelines and standardized criteria for the evaluation are not established. Patients suffering from the loss of a hand or an upper extremity have to cope with multiple challenges. For a selected group of patients, RHT represents an option for restoring natural function and for regaining daily living independence. The identification of at-risk patients and those requiring ongoing counseling due to poor coping or limited psychological resources are the primary focus of the psychological assessment. We have developed the 'Innsbruck Psychological Screening Program for Reconstructive Transplantation (iRT-PSP)' which utilizes a semi-structured interview and standardized psychological screening procedures and continuous follow-up ratings. Between January 2011 and October 2011, four candidates were evaluated using the iRT-PSP. Psychological impairments including social withdrawal, embarrassment, reduced self-esteem, and a depressive coping style were identified and poor quality of life was reported. The motivation for transplantation was diverse, depending on many factors such as bi- or unilateral impairment, native or accidental loss of hand, and social integration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)573-585
Number of pages13
JournalTransplant International
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012


  • composite tissue
  • defense mechanism
  • hand transplantation
  • immunosuppression
  • motivation
  • psychological assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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